Aylwin Lewis will step down as the chairman and CEO of Potbelly Corp. in August, the company said on Tuesday.
Lewis, who had been with the Chicago-based sandwich chain for nine years, will depart on August 8 later this year. The company said it has started a search process for his replacement.
“We are grateful for Aylwin’s leadership during his nine-year tenure at Potbelly,” Peter Bassi, Potbelly’s lead director, said in a statement. “We appreciate his vast contributions. He is a world-class restaurant leader and Potbelly benefited from his leadership.”
Lewis, a former CEO of Sears Holdings Corp., was named Potbelly’s CEO in 2008. He guided the chain through its 2013 initial public offering, when shares in the company more than doubled.
Yet Potbelly’s stock price has been declining ever since amid weak same-store sales and is trading at just under $11 per share after peaking at more than $30 after the chain's initial-publish offering. The company’s stock is down nearly 18 percent so far this year after the chain reported a decrease in same-store sales of 3.1 percent.
“I have truly enjoyed my time and experience at Potbelly,” Lewis said in a statement. “I have had the opportunity to work with great people in an amazing business over the last nine years. Potbelly has a special place in the hearts of our customers and it will always have a special place in my heart as well. I look forward to seeing Potbelly continue to grow as one of the nation's premier fast casual restaurant destinations.”
Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze